As media companies and big technology firms vie for sports viewers, investors have begun to look beyond the traditional avenues to teams and sports that only a few years ago had low profiles in the United States.
The latest deal, for a fifth-rated Formula 1 team owned by one of France’s largest automobile companies, involves the actor Ryan Reynolds and his investment firm, Maximum Effort Investments; as well as the private equity firm RedBird Capital Partners and its investing partner Capital. They are buying a 24 percent stake in Alpine F1 Team owned by Renault Group. The investors are paying about 200 million euros ($218 million) for the stake, valuing the team at roughly $900 million.
Formula 1 has jumped in popularity in the United States since its sale to Liberty Media in 2017. The Netflix documentary “Drive to Survive” attracted new attention to the sport, and attendance has skyrocketed as it has expanded to cities like Las Vegas and Miami.
For Renault, the Alpine deal is aimed at raising the visibility of its Alpine electric vehicle line, as it pushes to have more than half its sales in E.V.s by 2030. In a news release, Renault’s chief executive, Luca de Meo, said the deal would increase the value of the Alpine F1 brand.
Laurent Rossi, the chief executive of Alpine, said in the news release that the company would invest additional money in the team as it looked to rise in the rankings.
The Alpine deal came together over the past 18 months, Alec Scheiner, the head of Otro Capital, said in an interview. As part of the deal, he will join Alpine’s board.
“They looked at us like, ‘Maybe you can help us across the verticals where you’ve had success in the U.S. — ticketing, hospitality, sponsorship, licensing, merchandising, content,’” Mr. Scheiner said.
Mr. Scheiner, formerly a partner at RedBird Capital, worked as a vice president of the N.F.L.’s Dallas Cowboys, and later ran business operations for the Cleveland Browns. The deal is the first for Otro, which spun out of RedBird to raise money exclusively for sports-focused deals.
RedBird, founded by Gerry Cardinale, has taken stakes in Fenway Sports Group, the Yankees’ YES Network, the Italian soccer team A.C. Milan and the production company started by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. In 2021, it paid $37.5 million for a stake in Rajasthan Royals, the Indian Premier League cricket team. Last year, Indian Cricket broadcasting rights sold for a record price, cementing the league’s position among the world’s most valuable sports properties.
Maximum Effort, which has also invested in Aviation Gin and the Wales soccer team Wrexham AFC, did not disclose the size of its investment. Other investors include the actor Michael B. Jordan and Rob McElhenney, a co-owner of Wrexham AFC.